McCubbin among artists scheduled for Country Concert opening day

By Jim Davis
[email protected]

The homecoming should be twice as nice when Wyatt McCubbin arrives in Fort Loramie on Thursday.

Born in nearby Selma, Ohio, the country music artist will make his fourth Country Concert appearance with a pair of opening-night performances to help kick off the annual three-day music festival.

McCubbin is scheduled for a 5 p.m. performance on the Dr. Pepper VIP Stage, followed by a 9:15 p.m. set on the C4 Energy Saloon Stage.

Doing double-duty is more than fine with the 29-year-old McCubbin, who said he’s excited to share new music with fans at the three-day music festival.

“We’re kicking off the whole thing on Thursday night with arguably one of the best lineups I’ve ever seen at Country Concert. I’m 100 percent fired up to be there,” McCubbin said during a recent phone interview with AIM Media Midwest. “This year’s lineup is seriously incredible, and there are a lot of my friends I’m excited to see.”

Thursday’s Main Stage lineup includes a couple of artists who have recorded McCubbin’s songs — Cody Johnson and Riley Green — as well as Trace Adkins and Jo Dee Messina. And the following night, two other artists who have recorded McCubbin’s songs, Lainey Wilson and Dustin Lynch, are slated for the main stage.

“For a long time I was writing music for other people — I can get away with doing a cover without it being a cover, which is equally as cool seeing (fans) singing along to that — but this is a new phenomenon for me in this season of finally putting my music out,” McCubbin said. “As an artist myself, that’s really cool. You have to give (fans) that music for them to know it. It just took me a while to finally make that step.”

McCubbin’s music can be found on multiple platforms, with songs such as “This Pickup,” “All We Were Was Country,” “Keep Your Radio On,” “Fly on the Wall” and “Honky Damn Tonk” available.

Additionally, he’s had success through other artists with “Hell of a Way to Go” (Riley Green), “Copenhagen in a Cadillac” (Riley Green and Jelly Roll) and “That’s Texas” (Cody Johnson — who performed at the 2024 CMT FEST earlier this year). McCubbin also co-wrote two songs for Lainey Wilson’s upcoming album “Whirlwind” and new music for Luke Combs’ latest record.

Those songs are the result of a musical journey that started during McCubbin’s teenage years in Ohio.

“I was 14 years old when I wrote my first song and, at that moment, I thought ‘this is more than just playing guitar at the house.’ That’s when I fell in love with it,” McCubbin said. “It wasn’t long after that that (my family drove) me down to Nashville and the week after I got back I got a call from Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown and I wound up with a management deal really fast after that.

“It put things in perspective, but that’s not a normal route for a 14-year-old kid going to Nashville. I put the sports aside as a kid. I said ‘I don’t want to play football this year. I want to play some shows and write some songs.’ And I’ve taken it seriously my whole life. It’s all I’ve ever known, and I’m blessed to say that.”

McCubbin explained how the Barhorst family — which started Country Concert in 1981 — gave him a chance to perform during the Campers’ Celebration back in 2012.

“I opened for Florida Georgia Line in the side tent stage,” he remembered. “That was huge for a 16-year-old kid, so I owe (the Barhorst family) a lot.”

He returned for the Campers’ Celebration the following year, and in 2021 performed on the Homegrown Honkytonk Stage. And while things in the music industry have changed dramatically since McCubbin first started out, the singer/songwriter said staying true to his roots is key.

“You have to embrace every corner that gets turned, but one thing is to not stray too far from who you are. That’s the foundation of who you are as an artist,” McCubbin said. “Literally, the sound of country music has changed in the last 10 years. When I started making regular trips to Nashville 10-12 years ago, Cody Johnson, Riley Green and Lainey Wilson didn’t exist yet, but I loved the more traditional-leaning sound and never really strayed from that. So, it’s come full circle to favor me in that way, and so many other artists that held on long enough.

“You can try to adapt, but people need to know you for something instead of knowing you as a chameleon,” he continued. “If you really believe in what you do, don’t change the bones of that.”

McCubbin, who will return to Ohio later in the month for the Clark County Fair on July 25, lives in Nashville with his wife Holly and young daughter. He said he hopes Country Concert ’24 fans are able to let loose and focus on having a good time while he’s on stage.

“I’ve always tried to put myself in the fans’ shoes … and try to go out and do what I would want to hear on a record or on a stage,” he said. “I hope they say ‘Man, that was a freakin’ blast to listen to.’ We give them as much as we physically can and hope to see some smiles out there and beers held high.”

Hardy is scheduled to headline Saturday night. Bailey Zimmerman, Clint Black, Warren Zeiders and Sara Evans are among other performers scheduled to take the stage.